Lost Poems ; "The Year the Rice-Crop Failed" & "Dog Otter"
Ever since retirement I have been looking for these two poems. They were winners (if I remember it right) of the National Poetry Competition 2005. I had the Poetry Society magazine which published them, but somehow it didn't make it back to the UK with me.
Wonderful poems. Delighted to find them.
The Year the Rice-Crop Failed
by Melanie Drane
The year we married, rainy season
so long the rice crop failed.
People gave up
trying to stay dry; abandoned
littered the streets like dead
birds. One evening
that summer, a typhoon broke the
of the Imperial moat and sent
orange carp flopping
through the streets around the
feet of people trying to go home.
to the temple became impassable;
down them in a waterfall, heavy
as yolks. That night, I woke you
walls of our home began to shake;
our breath while the earth tossed,
its pulse as though we could protect
thought would cradle us –
room went still and you moved away,
sleep like a slow swimmer,
and lips swollen tight with salt.
morning, a mackerel sky hung over Tokyo.
newspaper confirmed the earthquake
inside the sea. I watched you dress to leave,
suit, shirt white as winter, galoshes
turned your shoes into small, slippery otters.
were gone, I heard hoarse and angry screams;
a flock of
crows landed on the neighbor’s roof,
messengers of Heaven. Did they come to reassure,